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Are Obama’s Poll Numbers Plummeting?

According to Gallup Poll Daily, after the presidential election from November 4-6, “only 27% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing as president. This contrasts with the 70% of Americans holding a favorable view of Obama.” Now in the March 13th Wall Street Journal article, “Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth,” Douglas Schoen and Scott Rasmussen report that the most recent Gallup, Rasmussen, and Wall Street Journal/NBC polls show that despite the earlier claims of some (such as the the March 6th, pro-Obama, “We Are All Socialists Now” issue of Newsweek and a March 3rd Wall Street Journal/NBC poll), public support for Obama is plummeting even though he has only been in office for fifty days:

A detailed examination of presidential popularity after 50 days on the job similarly demonstrates a substantial drop in presidential approval relative to other elected presidents in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Interestingly enough, the first reason for this rapid change is that a growing percentage of the public oppose the specific measures of Obama that do not offer real change but instead build upon the Big Government policies of George W. Bush to radically expand government power and spending:

The reason for this decline most likely has to do with doubts about the administration’s policies and their impact on peoples’ lives. . . .

When Gallup asked whether we should be spending more or less in the economic stimulus, by close to 3-to-1 margin voters said it is better to have spent less than to have spent more. When asked whether we are adding too much to the deficit or spending too little to improve the economy, by close to a 3-to-2 margin voters said that we are adding too much to the deficit. . . .

Rasmussen data shows that people now actually oppose Mr. Obama’s budget, 46% to 41%. Three-quarters take this position because it will lead to too much spending. And by 2-to-1, voters reject House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for a second stimulus package. . . .

Fifty-six percent of Americans oppose giving bankers any additional government money or any guarantees backed by the government. Two-thirds say Wall Street will benefit more than the average taxpayer from the new bank bailout plan. This represents a jump in opposition to the first plan passed last October. At that time, 45% opposed the bailout and 30% supported it. Now a solid majority opposes the bank bailout, and 20% think it was a good idea. A majority believes that Mr. Obama will not be able to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term.

But most interesting is the finding that a sizable percentage of the public is now expressing serious doubt about federal government power itself as beneficial in resolving economic problems:

Only less than a quarter of Americans believe that the federal government truly reflects the will of the people. Almost half disagree with the idea that no one can earn a living or live “an American life” without protection and empowerment by the government, while only one-third agree.

Despite the economic stimulus that Congress just passed and the budget and financial and mortgage bailouts that Congress is now debating, just 19% of voters believe that Congress has passed any significant legislation to improve their lives. While Congress’s approval has increased, it still stands at only 18%. Over two-thirds of voters believe members of Congress are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping the American people. When it comes to the nation’s economic issues, two-thirds of voters have more confidence in their own judgment than they do in the average member of Congress.

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Institute.
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